Lignite Helps S Rly Chug Past Freight Target In Apr-Aug

Chennai, September 23: | Updated: Sep 24 2003, 05:30am hrs
Freight loading at Southern Railways (S Rly) has received a fresh lease of life during April-August 2003, thanks to the new lignite traffic from Vadalur to Uthangalmangalam in Cuddalore.

The zonal railway has moved about 9.88 million tonnes of cargo during the period April-August as against the proportionate target of 9.02 million tonnes for the period. For the south zone, the railway board has set a target of 22.50 million tonnes for the financial year ending March 2004.

Sources in S Rly told that after a marginal slump freight movement has started showing signs of recovery. During the period, coal movement has improved significantly. It has touched 5.38 million tonnes as against the board's proportionate target of 4.14 million tonnes and corresponding previous year's performance of 4.06 million tonnes. "We have started moving lignite from Vadalur to Uthangalmangalam. And this has pushed up our volumes considerably. S Rly loads about 4,000 tonnes of lignite per day in this stretch," sources said.

In the case of cement, S Rly has shipped about 0.71 million tonnes compared to the proportionate target of 0.63 million tonnes and corresponding last year performance of 0.58 million tonnes. The growth has been basically due to additional traffic being moved to a new railway siding in Palayam near Karur for Chettinad Cement.

However, the zone has suffered a major setback in the other categories like foodgrains, petroleum products and fertiliser. Food grains movement has dropped to 0.50 million tonnes owing to drought in Thanjavur delta. While, fertiliser has gone down to 0.66 million tonnes as against 0.83 million tonnes same period last year and board's target of 0.69 million tonnes. There has been poor offtake of fertilisers at the terminals because of lack of rains, they said.

"Freight movement of petroleum, which has been a major revenue earner for S Rly, has decreased to 2.04 million tonnes as against 2.45 million tonnes in the corresponding period last year. The main reason being commencement of the Indian Oil Corporation's pipeline project between Ernakulam and Irugur.

This project has hit hard the freight movement of petroleum products through rail," they added.